CALGARY — Former Liberal MP Kent Hehr has withdrawn from the race to become Calgary's mayor.
Hehr, who filed his nomination papers earlier this month, says he is withdrawing over health concerns.
"I began feeling ill on Sunday morning. I got a COVID test and have not received the results yet, but I immediately suspended all campaign activities," Hehr said in a statement Tuesday.
"What further complicates things is that people with spinal cord injuries are a higher risk for COVID complications. Although I am double vaccinated, given the number of people with the Delta variant in Alberta and the ICUs being at or near capacity, the risks to my health are compounded."
Hehr became a quadriplegic when he was hit as a bystander in a drive-by shooting.
He served two terms as a Liberal member of the Alberta legislature, before running successfully for the federal Liberals in the riding of Calgary Centre in 2015. He was defeated in 2019.
Hehr entered the Calgary mayoral race in 2010, but withdrew to support Naheed Nenshi, who won and went on to serve three terms. Nenshi is not running in the municipal election on Oct. 18.
Twenty-eight candidates remain in the race.
In 2018, Hehr left Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's cabinet over allegations that Hehr had made sexually inappropriate comments to one woman and touched another inappropriately.
He said at the time that he had no memory of the events. An investigation deemed any sexual contact incidental.
Alberta averaged about 1,500 new cases daily on the weekend, recording 4,633 cases between Friday and Sunday. The province had 954 people with COVID-19 in hospital, 216 of them in intensive care.
The province recorded 22 deaths over the three days.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 21, 2021.
The Canadian Press